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OPINION

Hit the 'Reset' Button, Mr. President

By Fred Gedrich and Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney (ret.)

The International Olympic Committee’s rejection of Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games is a sober reminder of  President Obama’s personal diplomacy limitations. His shocking defeat in Copenhagen will pale in comparison to those he will likely encounter in the international security arena if his dubious foreign policy agenda continues.

The United States faces enormous foreign policy and national security challenges:

The Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan and continuing threat to nuclear-armed Pakistan’s government: 

North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program.

Iran’s efforts to build nuclear weapons.

China’s and Russia’s strategic ambitions.

Castro and Chavez’s attempts to destabilize the Western Hemisphere.

The growing reach of the radical Islamic movement (emanating from Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia).

The Israeli-Palestinian mess. 

All of the above top the list of security problems facing this president.

Eager to forge new international alliances to counter these and other threats, Mr. Obama has turned to the United Nations and extended an open hand and expression of respect to many of the tyrants ruling the U.N. roost, the very same folks who delight in belittling the U.S. and Israel. -- This approach can’t work. Here's why: 

The U.N. has not demonstrated the ability to accomplish its two main missions: maintaining international peace and security and protecting human rights. Since its 1945 founding, there have been about 300 interstate conflicts (e.g., wars) resulting in approximately 22 million deaths. According to Freedom House’s 2009 Global Freedom Report, some 3.6 billion people from 103 countries currently do not enjoy the same political rights and civil liberties as their Free World counterparts, with nearly two-thirds of them existing under the most repressive circumstances.

Two of the UN’s most oppressive regimes, China and Russia, hold two of the five permanent seats on the 15-member U.N. Security Council (France, Great Britain and the U.S. are the other permanent members). They often veto and/or water-down any Security Council resolution not to their liking. They also run interference for rogue states like Iran, North Korea and others in their sphere of influence, protecting them from tough U.N. economic sanctions and/or military action.

As if the U.N. Security Council impediments weren't bad enough, consider the 192-nation UN General Assembly where Libya (run by strongman Moammar Qaddafi)  is the elected president and Sudan (Omar Al-Bashir) is a vice president. Freedom House, Parade magazine and others have ranked the two dictators as among the world’s worst leaders and/or human rights abusers. Libya was involved in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and early in 2009 the U.N.-supported International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s leader accusing him of crimes against humanity in Darfur.

For those wondering how undemocratic regimes can be placed in the most influential U.N. positions the answer is simple: the 103 undemocratic nations (mostly from the intertwined African Union, League of Arab States, Islamic Conference, and the Non-Aligned Movement) have more votes than the 89 free countries. The tyrants shrewdly use democratic theory – under the “one nation, one vote� concept enunciated in the U.N. charter – while denying their own citizens the constitutional right to freely elect and replace government leaders.

Every time President Obama extends the olive branch of moral equivalency to the likes of Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Libya’s Qaddafi and Venezuela’s Chavez – at the expense of the people they abuse, oppress, enslave and terrorize – he not only endangers America's status as the leader of the free world leader but also weakens our national security, since weakness with enemies always begets newer and bigger challenges.

As the leader of the free world, President George W. Bush unsuccessfully sought to bring real reform the U.N. He unequivocally embraced global freedom and made democracy and human rights the centerpiece of his national security strategy – arguing that when freedom flourishes, war abates and people prosper. His policy drew scorn from despots and U.N. supporters such as the U.N. Foundation, George Soros and others.

President Obama “changed� his predecessors’ strategy in favor of more direct, unconditional, and non-threatening engagement with the despots who comprise the U.N. majority. Now he “hopes� this approach will make for a more peaceful, cooperative and prosperous world. It won’t.

While professing to be open to dialog, the world's despots use negotiations and inspection protocols as a delaying tactic to take advantage of the situation. For example, as further talks and inspections are officially scheduled, Iran continues to enrich uranium for its nuclear weapons program and North Korea continues to test and export nuclear weapon and delivery system technology. All while the Obama administration struggles to find elusive diplomatic solutions to these threats by using U.N. channels.

In reality, the U.N. is not an effective force for peace and won’t be until free states become the majority in the U.N. General Assembly and the institution undergoes major reforms. This can only begin to happen if President Obama does three things: 

  1. Makes global freedom and human rights a priority of his administration 
  2. Unabashedly stands up for freedom seekers, like those in Iran and elsewhere, who bravely challenge their tyrannical tormentors 
  3. Sets policies that best serve the interests of the United States and free states rather than the dreg's of the world.

Engaging in a foolish outreach program aimed at tyrants is dangerous. America should always stand firmly with the oppressed not their oppressors. President Obama should quickly hit the reset button on his foreign policy misadventure. If he doesn’t, the U.S. will have, sadly,  relinquished the proud mantle of free world leader to the detriment of the entire world.

Fred Gedrich is a foreign policy and national security analyst and served in the US Departments of State and Defense. He has traveled to more than 50 U.S. foreign missions on official assignments, including Beijing, China during the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the Newly Independent States in the former Soviet Union shortly after the collapse of the communist empire. 

Tom McInerney is a retired Air Force Lt Gen who was the former Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and is now a Fox News Military Analyst.

General McInerney is the founder of Government Reform Through Technology, a consulting firm that works with high-tech companies. GRTT conducts business with federal, state, city and local governments to help them introduce advanced technology into the public sector.